Posted by: Skin and Cancer Institute in Medical Dermatology

person's knees with psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes the formation of scaly, red patches on the skin. It affects millions of people around the world and can often be difficult to treat.

August is Psoriasis Action Month—a time to raise awareness about this often misunderstood disease that affects about two percent of the population, including celebrities like Cyndi Lauper, LeAnn Rimes, and Kim Kardashian. 

For Psoriasis Awareness Month, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is raising awareness about the importance of psoriasis research.The NPF is committed to helping people with psoriasis live their best lives. 

Research for a cure

One way the NPF does this is by funding research to find a cure for psoriasis. In past years, it awarded more than $3 million in research grants annually. This year, it’s continuing its commitment to finding a cure by awarding even more grants.

Supporting psoriasis patients

The Skin and Cancer Institute supports the National Psoriasis Foundation’s mission and believes that through research, we will one day find a cure for psoriasis. In the meantime, we will continue to help our psoriasis patients by providing quality care dermatological care and resources.

Tips to cope with psoriasis

We know that psoriatic disease can be tough to manage. But we also know that our patients can live healthy, happy lives even if they have psoriasis. That’s why in addition to providing excellent medical care, we also like to give our patients resources for managing their condition. Read on for tips and tricks to manage your illness during Psoriasis Action Month and beyond.

Ways to reduce psoriasis flare-ups 

1. Avoid known triggers. If you have a flare-up, take note of what may have caused it and try to avoid those triggers in the future.

2. Keep your skin moisturized. This will help to prevent dryness, which can trigger a flare-up. Be sure to use a mild, unscented lotion or cream.

3. Take short, lukewarm showers. Hot water can dry out your skin, so opt for lukewarm water instead. And keep showers short to avoid stripping away natural oils.

4. Gently pat your skin dry. Don’t rub or scrub your skin after showering, as this can irritate it and make a flare-up worse. Instead, gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel.

5. Avoid harsh cleansers and soaps. Choose mild products that are designed for sensitive skin. And avoid using harsh scrubs or exfoliants, as these can irritate the skin and make a flare-up worse.

6. Apply medication as directed. If you’re using prescription medication for your psoriasis, be sure to apply it as directed by your doctor. Don’t skip applications or use more than prescribed.

How UV light can help manage psoriasis symptoms

Ultraviolet (UV) light is a type of electromagnetic radiation that is invisible to the human eye. It makes up a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which includes everything from X-rays to visible light. 

While UV light is best known for its harmful effects on the skin, recent studies have shown that it can be used to treat certain conditions, including psoriasis. Some studies have shown that exposure to UV light can help slow the growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation. As a result, UV light therapy is becoming an increasingly popular treatment option for psoriasis.

If you are considering UV therapy for your psoriasis, it is important to speak with a dermatologist first. This type of treatment can be associated with certain risks, such as sunburn and skin cancer. However, when used properly, UV therapy can be an effective way to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

10 foods to avoid if you have psoriasis:

1. Dairy – Milk, cheese, and other dairy products can trigger inflammation and cause flare-ups.

2. Gluten – Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It can trigger an immune response and make psoriasis symptoms worse.

3. Nightshades – Nightshade vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, contain a chemical that can trigger inflammation.

4. Sugar – Sugar can cause inflammation and worsen psoriasis symptoms.

5. Processed foods – Processed foods are high in sugar and other chemicals that can trigger inflammation.

6. Alcohol – Alcohol is a common trigger for psoriasis flare-ups.

7. Caffeine – Caffeine can cause dehydration and trigger inflammation.

8. Spicy foods – Spicy foods can trigger inflammation and make psoriasis symptoms worse.

9. Citrus fruits – Citrus fruits are high in acidity and can trigger flare-ups.

10. Red meat – Red meat is a common trigger for psoriasis flare-ups. It can cause inflammation and make symptoms worse.

The best topical treatments for psoriasis

There are a number of topical treatments that can help to manage the symptoms. The most common topical treatments for psoriasis are corticosteroids, retinoids, and salicylic acid. 

Corticosteroids–slow down skin cell growth and decrease inflammation. 

Retinoids–in gels, creams or foams can help speed the shedding of skin cells.

Salicylic acid– helps to loosen and shed dead skin cells, which can help to reduce scaling. 

There are also a number of newer topical treatments that are available, including some that are specifically designed for people with sensitive skin. If you have psoriasis, talk to your doctor about which type of topical treatment is right for you.

The connection between stress and psoriasis flare-ups

People with psoriasis often experience flare-ups, or periods when their symptoms are worse than usual. Flare-ups can be triggered by a number of factors, including stress.

Stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one or a divorce, can trigger a psoriasis flare-up. However, everyday stressors, such as work or financial problems, can also lead to flare-ups. In fact, stress is thought to play a major role in the development of psoriasis. 

Studies have shown that people with psoriasis are more likely to experience stressful life events than those without the condition. Furthermore, people with psoriasis who experience high levels of stress are more likely to have severe symptoms and frequent flare-ups.

If you have psoriasis, it is important to manage your stress levels. This may involve regular exercise, relaxation techniques, and counseling.

Bottom Line

Psoriasis is a chronic condition that causes the overproduction of skin cells. The excess skin cells form red, scaly patches that can be itchy, sore, and painful. There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms and keep the condition under control. 

The dermatologists at the Skin and Cancer Institute are experts in the treatment of psoriasis. We offer a variety of treatments that can help improve the appearance of your skin and relieve your symptoms. We also offer tips and tricks to help you manage your condition on a day-to-day basis. If you or someone you love is living with psoriasis, reach out to us today for an appointment. We’re here to help.